The man turned to Lynda and grinned maniacally when he heard her pathetic whimper slip from her lips. He lifted the knife into the air and swung his knife down onto the, pause. How did your mind finish the ending of the sentence? The words chosen perfectly describes how an author portrays the classic horror villain. So how does that description change the way you view a person? Through research I found that perspective can change how the words villain and hero can become null. That culture, morals, their background, and certain parts of a person’s brain can control who they become and how they view right and wrong.
What I originally knew before I started researching was my own perspective, that Loki was wronged by Odin. That Magneto was just trying to save his own race and shouldn’t have been viewed as a villain. I knew that background meant the world to a person’s mind. That some cultures today believe in things that Americans or “refined” cultures believe to be outdated. I felt that maybe villains played into life more than I knew. Perhaps in the grand scheme everyone becomes their own villain.
A villain isn’t always a being with special powers, sometimes the villain is just an average human being. Anyone can be a hero or a villain and maybe even sometimes both. There are a bunch of sub categories of villains, such as those driven to villainy and there is also those who are stuck in villainous acts. One thing to rely on is that there will always be the classic villain, to tell that this person is a villain is that they usually disregard morals, are selfish, and they don’t care about who gets hurt as long as they reach their own goals. While there is the anti-villain, they are portrayed as a villain but they are generally helping the hero. The characteristics of an anti-villain is that they are misunderstood, they help the hero in the end, follows their morals, some are revengeful, and generally can have a tragic background.
I learned that there is the Freudian Excuse that gives the criminal a background, which is normally tragic. Out of the three sections involved, superego controls the morals we grow up with and how we mold them into our own. I found out that power that is used selfishly and wrong can get to a persons head, and cause an astounding transformation. This is best portrayed by the Lucifer Effect. The Lucifer Effect has an infinite potential that has the capacity to make us behave kind or cruel, creative or destructive, caring or indifferent, and make us villains or heroes. What can also show this amazing transformation is the Yin and Yang theory. That in every person, no matter if they are good or evil, there is a little bit of the opposite in them. That in every good person there is a part of them that thinks bad things. In every evil person there is a spot in them where good thoughts come from. To further believe this I read about a study that was runned by Philip Zimbardo. In this study 24 men were selected and put through a prison scenario. What surprised me was that the men who were guards become cruel and crude towards the men who were playing the prisoners. The guards kind of became infected with power and this is how the study changed my view on how people think and work. One quote that I had found really took shape of how I looked at things too. The quote where Glinda from Wicked says “Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?”; this quote then changed my original theory to questioning morals and culture, to questioning whether someone was destined for evil. I now firmly believe that selfishness of power can create a villain from anyone, good or bad.
I learned that it takes multiple steps for a person to go wrong. That there are multiple types of evil. I feel like this was important to know, because we all travel on the Slippery Slope of Evil at some point in our lives and it think it would be beneficial to know the steps when you’re edging on doing the right or wrong thing. To relate villainous characters to the real world, I used the idea of criminals. With all of the information on criminals I narrowed down my search to the brain and the use of power. I researched Super-ego to get a grasp on what goes through a person’s brain, and the Stanford Prison Experiment to get a view on how power can change someone’s morals quickly and efficiently. The information changed me minimally, from the beginning of this research I knew that I had just barely scratched the tip of the iceberg and really I still have so much more researching to do. I think the only thing that really changed throughout this research is my thought processes. My views on criminals changed drastically and made me really wonder how many prisoners are in prison because of how they were raised, or what happened to them before they fell down the Slippery Slope of Evil. The Freudian Excuse made me realize that it’s not just a change of heart when a villain does a good thing, but their morals and culture make the decisions for them.I really hope that from this research people will pull out that the words hero and villain are just that, words. I hope that people will know that hero and villain are words that are too black and white and that there is a gray area in between that can change the perspective field size enormously.
Honestly, I hope that the outlook on villains and criminals will not be so black and white. That people have enough information to determine the right actions for justice. One thing I am worried about is that I have done all this research for nothing and people will keep on judging the wrong mistakes and won’t look past their own morals. I think that what we can do is recognize the difference between a true, evil, person and someone who has a justified reason for what they do.
He lifted the knife into the air and swung his knife down onto the bindings tying her to the chair, he sawed of the ropes and bent down to kiss her on the cheek, grinning. “Lynda, what would you do if I wasn’t here to save you all the time?”